I’ve been thinking a lot about risks lately. Risks associated with doing certain things, as well as risks associated with not doing certain things. I’m a risk-averse person. In most things. But not all. For people like me, doing nothing always seems less risky than doing something. Even if it’s not.
The biggest risk we can take, of course, is doing something (or refraining from doing something) that could cost us our lives. Yet people do it. Everyday. In war. In driving at high speeds. Skydiving. Base jumping. Deep coal mining. The list goes on and on.
Most of us, however, try hard to avoid such risks. Yet even us timid folk get in a car or plane. It’s next to impossible to live without taking some of these risks. We convince ourselves that the risks are low. And they are. But they’re also real. And present. Having dodged a near-death experience a year ago in an auto brought that home to roost for me.
But risks don’t concern only physical well-being. We can also risk our mind and soul. I’d argue that many of us are doing just that by treating capitalism and nationalism as religions, but that’s a topic for another day.
I also think there is a risk in not doing what your heart tells you is the right thing to do. I’ve done that in my life, and I suspect it’s done more harm than good to my spirit.
Of course, what you consider right may strike someone else as sheer lunacy. They may question your fitness of mind. And perhaps they’re right. But perhaps not. Perhaps they’re simply unwilling to take the risks you deem acceptable. Perhaps they simply don’t have the same call to take those risks. Which is fine. We’re all different. Each much decide for him or herself what’s an acceptable risk.
But how can one be sure the risks are worthwhile? How can one be sure one’s motivations aren’t placing you at undue risk?
In the end, I don’t have a better plan than to do what I think is right. What my heart tells me is the right thing to do. Even if there are risks. For there also are risks in not doing what I think is the right thing to do. And they may be the biggest risks of all.